France says Iran nuclear deal 'within grasp', predicts a major crisis if agreement isn't reached

WION Web Team
Viena, Austria Updated: Feb 17, 2022, 11:43 AM(IST)

Iran's economy took a beating after the-then President Donald Trump reimposed sanctions on the country in 2018. Iran then ramped up its nuclear work, violating the terms of the 2015 deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Photograph:( AFP )

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In late November, the Vienna talks, which include Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, and indirectly the United States, resumed with the goal of restoring the 2015 deal

France warned on Wednesday that Iran has only days left to accept a deal on its nuclear programme at Vienna talks, while Iran's chief negotiator said a deal was closer than ever before.

In an address to the Senate, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian predicted that if there is no agreement, a major crisis would ensue.

"We need political decisions from the Iranians. They have a very clear choice," France's Le Drian said.

"Either they unleash a serious crisis in the next days... or they accept an agreement that respects the interests of all the parties, especially those of Iran," he said.

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Having described a deal as "within grasp," he said there was now an agreement between the European powers as well as China, Russia, and the United States.

He nonetheless warned that Iran's nuclear activities are intensifying and that time is running out.

"The more this goes on, the more Iran is accelerating its nuclear procedures," he said.

In late November, the Vienna talks, which include Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, and indirectly the United States, resumed with the goal of restoring the 2015 deal. 

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"We are closer than ever to an agreement," Iran's top negotiator Ali Bagheri wrote on Twitter on Wednesday. "Our negotiating partners need to be realistic, avoid intransigence and heed lessons of past 4yrs. Time for their serious decisions."

Iran's economy took a beating after the-then President Donald Trump reimposed sanctions on the country in 2018. Iran, then ramped up its nuclear work, violating the terms of the 2015 deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

"As a matter of principle, public opinion in Iran cannot accept as a guarantee the words of a head of state, let alone the United States, due to the withdrawal of Americans" in 2018, Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told the Financial Times in an interview published on his ministry's website.

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In a statement he made, he said he had asked Iranian negotiators to propose to the Western parties that "at least their parliaments or parliament speakers, including the US Congress, can declare in the form of a political statement their commitment to the agreement."

The Vienna talks aim to bring Washington back to the nuclear deal and include lifting sanctions on Iran, as well as ensuring Tehran sticks to its commitments.

(With inputs from agencies)

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